You think my shoes are made of leather
February 6, 2009 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Under what circumstances would a shoe be marked by the manufacturer as having a leather upper when it is clearly made of something else?

I just purchased a pair of hella drag queen platform boots in an eBay auction. They're very, very dramatic - knee high, six inch metal heels, three inch platforms. They fit fantastically well, they're comfortable, and they make me want to go to a ferocious party in a huge wig, false eyelashes and a gaudy outfit that shows excessive cleavage, drink too much vodka and be a loud crazy bitch. I was excited to win the auction, because I have always wanted a pair of black leather platform go-go boots. Another bidder asked the seller if the boots were leather; she replied that they were marked as such on the sole by the manufacturer. So I got all excited and went and won the auction. Whoo-hoo!

But... they aren't leather. They are sooooo not leather. I'd say they are fake and lying, but they aren't even trying; they aren't PU, they aren't pleather. They're some kind of vinyl plasticized fabric on a felt and foam backing and they are really, truly, obviously not leather. Yet the label on the sole states that they have a leather upper. It's definitely the manufacturer's labeling - it's not a sticker or painted on, it's actually impressed into the sole of the boot on the underside of the vamp (LEATHER UPPER, SYNTHETIC SOLE, MADE IN SPAIN.) I've emailed the seller, who insisted that they had to be mainly leather because of the label, and probably thinks I'm nuts.

I understand that it's a clear violation of trade law to label your product as having a leather upper unless it is at least 80% leather - at least according to recent European law, and since these purport to be manufactured in Spain, they would be subject to that law. The brand is Luichiny - from what I know of them, they started out as a smaller boutique brand, but they were purchased by a larger distributor and now they're a relatively prolific manufacturer whose products sell at a low-to-mid price point; neither low key enough to get away with labeling shenanigans, nor prestigious enough to be to encourage counterfeiting, which is the main scenario where I've seen such a disconnect between the label and materials. Even then, though, the counterfeiters were trying to make the product look like leather, and this isn't even close.

If it helps, these are older - my semi-educated guess would be from the early-mid nineties, when the company was much smaller.

So what is up with this tomfoolery? Can anyone more knowledgeable in trade law give me an idea as to what might have happened that would have allowed these totally-and-utterly-not-even-remotely-leather boots to be distributed and sold with a label that is obviously total B.S.?
posted by louche mustachio to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total)
Bit of a chatty question--
  • A mix-up at the factory, worker A reached for label box C instead of D.
  • The enforcement of the trade laws doesn't mean every production run is perfect.

posted by Static Vagabond at 10:23 AM on February 6, 2009

Best answer: Sloppy reuse of the sole for two different boots.
posted by smackfu at 10:53 AM on February 6, 2009

Have you taken them to a shoe repair place? They can probably tell you how the boot is constructed.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:55 AM on February 6, 2009

Counterfeit product?
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:40 PM on February 6, 2009

I think smackfu's idea is very likely. Lame that the seller was either unobservant or deliberately misleading. Leather is a pretty distinctive material.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:44 PM on February 6, 2009

Best answer: They are fake. The sole was probably cast from an original and then they constructed the upper out of man made materials to resemble, from the outside, the original upper.
posted by Mitheral at 5:42 PM on February 6, 2009

Response by poster: Bit of a chatty question--

Sorry about that - I was kind of ranting. I was pretty irritated when I posted, and was trying to talk myself into being curious rather than pissy.

I asked because the seller insisted up and down that there was no way the boots could be anything but leather because trade laws would not allow them to be marked as such otherwise. I believe she was sincere in her arguments, as she seemed otherwise so earnest in trying to retain my business. Plus, not giving her the benefit and thinking that she had intentionally deceived me would have made me angrier than the money really warranted. It was more than I would have paid (which would have been $0) but not enough for a knock down drag out.

Smackfu's idea is interesting, although I don't think it's a likely scenario, as the sole is pretty dramatic, and because of the metal heel would require some attention to construction. Mitheral's idea seems somewhat more likely - though I stated in the question that the brand isn't all that prestigious, the design is funky enough that some enterprising person may have decided it was worth the trouble.

Thanks for your answers, as always.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:49 PM on February 7, 2009

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